San Diego's Once-Prominent Green Flash Brewing Sold Yet Again

December 20, 2021

San Diego's once-prominent Green Flash Brewing has been sold for the second time in the past three years, this time to a cannabis beer craft brewery based out of Atlanta.

Green Flash Brewing Company was founded by Mike & Lisa Hinkley in 2002 in San Diego's Mira Mesa neighborhood. In November 2014, it was announced that Green Flash founders and Alpine Beer Company founders Pat and Val McIlhenney would join forces. Essentially, Green Flash acquired Alpine and the "partnership" eventually went south. In late March 2018, Green Flash company sold to a group of investors WC IPA LLC following a foreclosure by the company’s principal lender Comerica Bank. During that time, the company laid off nearly a quarter of its workforce, ceased distribution in 32 states, shut down their 16-month-old East Coast brewery operations, and shuttered their Poway-based Cellar 3 Barrel Aged Brewery and tasting room. New ownership included members with ties to brewing behemoth InBev, including the former Senior Director of Finance and Admin of the Craft Division of Anheuser-Busch InBev, which led to speculation of Budweiser's involvement in operation of Green Flash.

Over the weekend, news broke that Green Flash was being sold to Sweetwater Brewing, a craft brewery founded in Atlanta, GA, that is now owned by cannabis company Tilray Medical. Tilray Medical is a subsidiary of Aphria, Inc, a Canadian cannabis company that has a partnership with Anheuser Busch InBev to create beer and cannabis-based drinks. It is expected that Green Flash and Alpine operations will wind down within 60 days of the deal closing and any Green Flash Brewing or Alpine Beer Company beers will be brewed out of the Sweetwater Brewing facility in Fort Collins, CO.

The Green Flash purchase does not include the existing Miramar-based brewing facility or the Alpine Beer Company Pub in East County, which are both expected to be listed for sale. The sale of Green Flash effectively ends the company's presence in San Diego. Fans of the original Alpine Beer Company can now visit the family's successor brewery Mcilhenney Brewing in Alpine, CA.